Hurricane Harvey & Reasonable Administration of Texas Injury Benefit Claims
Recent weeks have been filled with heartbreaking loss for many of our Texas neighbors, as well as friends and family in Florida, Georgia and surrounding states. If you or someone in your life has been affected by the events of Hurricane Harvey or Irma, please know your PartnerSource family holds you in our thoughts and prayers.
This letter, previously sent to PartnerSource clients and claim administrators, offers immediate assistance, as well as advice for injury benefit claim decision makers regarding a relaxation of deadlines and obligations on injured workers. The U.S. Department of Labor is also advising benefit plan fiduciaries to provide some relief for covered employees on time deadlines (as well as relief for plans with recordkeeping functions) within the disaster area. Also consider this similar guidance from the Texas Department of Insurance with respect to workers’ compensation claims.
We all understand the importance of strong claims procedures and how prompt injury reporting and treatment can impact an injured employee’s medical outcome, treatment options and an employer’s ability to investigate and prevent workplace accidents. However, it is vitally important (from legal compliance, fairness, reputational and other perspectives) that the above guidance be heeded and NOT disregarded due to a false belief that claim handling practices during a declared emergency should be the same or “consistent” with historic claim handling practices.
Contact any PartnerSource Team Leader or Director, your TPA and/or your legal counsel for further support and recommendations in the administration of your Texas injury benefit plan and claims that may be impacted by Hurricane Harvey. And attend the PartnerSource Employer Conference for training on the administration of plan deadlines and a good cause exception.